We’re not big Elvis Presley fans, which is probably why we didn’t make a stop at The Elvis Presley Birthplace the first time we were taking interstate 78 past Tupelo, Mississippi. That day we were on our way to Oxford, and I was more interested in getting on the Natchez Trace (however briefly) and stopping at the Tupelo National Battlefield, which turned out to be somewhat anticlimactic. Just a small patch of grass and some monuments located right off the roadside, surrounded by urban sprawl and a few leering locals in pickup trucks. We should have went to Elvis’ birthplace instead.
Because when we did make it back to Tupelo a few days later, the museum was closed. But we could still walk the grounds and see the house where Elvis Presley was born: a tiny two-room shotgun house built in 1934, supposedly for a grand total of $180. A nearby church is just as modest. The First Assembly of God Church, where Elvis sang as a boy, was restored back to its 1930s appearance and moved to the property a few years back. The complex is quiet and humble and about as un-Elvis as you can get. The anti-Graceland.